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Moses: As the Eternal, your True God, is bringing you into the land where you’re going to live when you cross the Jordan, He’ll drive out many nations ahead of you—Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—seven nations that are bigger and stronger than you are. The Eternal your God will put them in your power. You must crush them; destroy them completely! Don’t make any treaties with them, and don’t show them any mercy. Above all, don’t intermarry with them! Don’t marry your daughters to any of their sons, and don’t marry your sons to any of their daughters.

Eternal One: This would cause your enemies to turn your children away from Me to worship other gods.

Moses: If you did worship other gods, the Eternal would become furious with you and destroy you in an instant! So this is what you must do to these nations instead: tear down their altars, smash their monoliths, chop down their sacred poles,[a] and throw the idols they’ve carved into the fire!

One of the most important ways faith is communicated is from parent to child. Most people who do find a lifelong faith come into it by the time they are young adults, and the most significant influence on them is what they’ve seen modeled at home. Stories and experiences are a compelling influence on the faith of children.

The first stage in building this sense of covenant loyalty to God was to eliminate every trace of pagan worship from the land. None of the Canaanites’ existing religious fixtures could be used for worship. The altars other nations used to offer their sacrifices were dedicated explicitly to other gods, like Baal and Asherah, through their distinctive designs and decorations. The True God could not be represented in the shape of any created thing since He is the creator of everything!

Moses: Remember: you’re a people set apart for the Eternal your God; He is your God and has chosen you to be His own possession—His special people—out of all the peoples on the earth. The Eternal didn’t become devoted to you and choose you because you were the most numerous of all the peoples—in fact, you were the least! Instead, He brought you out of Egypt with overwhelming power and liberated you from slavery to Pharaoh the king because He loved you and was keeping the oath He swore to your ancestors. I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands. 10 But He holds personally accountable those who hate Him, and He destroys them; He does not delay when anyone hates Him, but He holds them personally accountable. 11 Therefore, be very careful to obey the commands and rules and judgments I’m giving you today.

12 If you pay attention to these judgments and keep them carefully, the Eternal your God will keep the covenant He made with your ancestors and show you His loyal love. 13 He’ll love you and bless you and increase your population. He’ll bless your children, and He’ll bless your agriculture. The land He promised your ancestors He’d give you will produce abundantly; and you’ll have grain and wine and olive oil, many cattle, and new flocks. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people. None of your men or women will be unable to have children; all of your cattle will have offspring. 15 The Eternal will keep every illness away from you. He won’t afflict you with any of those horrible diseases you saw in Egypt—He’ll put them instead on those who hate you! 16 You are to destroy all the nations the Eternal, your True God, puts in your power. Don’t show them any pity! You must not worship their gods—that behavior is a deadly trap!

17 You might say to yourselves, “Those nations are so much more powerful than we are! How can we ever displace them in the land?” 18 But don’t be afraid of them! Remember what the Eternal, your True God, did to Pharaoh and to all of Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes how the Eternal your God brought you out of there by testing the Egyptians with great plagues, warning them with signs and omens, and fighting against them with overwhelming power. He is your God and will do the same thing to all the nations you’re so afraid of right now. 20 The Eternal your God will even send swarms of hornets against them. Those hornets will finish off anyone who escapes from you and tries to hide from the death you bring. 21 So don’t be so terrified of these other nations—the Eternal your God is with you. He’s a great and awesome God! 22 But He will drive out these nations ahead of you only little by little. You won’t be able to finish them off all at once because if you did, the wild animals would reproduce rapidly in the empty land and that would be dangerous. 23 But the Eternal your God definitely will defeat these nations in front of you. He will throw them into a great panic until they are all destroyed. 24 He’ll put their kings in your power, so you will be able to wipe out all their names. No one under heaven will ever know they existed! Not a single person will be able to resist you; you’ll destroy them all. 25 Then you must burn up all of their carved idols in the fire. Don’t admire them because the silver and gold in them are so valuable. If you take those metals, you’ll fall into a deadly trap because He abhors these idols! 26 You must not bring these horrible things into your house. If you do, you’ll be doomed to destruction, just as they are. You should be totally horrified and disgusted by these idols—they are doomed to destruction!

Footnotes

  1. 7:5 Hebrew, Asherah

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